Polly Leavold

Polly Leavold

School Nurse

When did you graduate and what degree did you complete?

I graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University as a Paediatric Nurse in April 2014, and was awarded a 2:1 BSc (Hons) Degree in Child Nursing. 

Tell us about your current role – what does it entail?

In April 2014 I secured my first position in a local Paediatric Accident and Emergency (A&E) department. A&E was an exciting and fast paced environment where I learnt many skills. The team were very welcoming and I luckily had a very enthusiastic preceptor who made me feel supported as a newly qualified nurse in an emergency department. 

During my experience in A&E I was able to complete my intravenous drug course, PILS, Mentorship, and other numerous training days. That was a huge benefit of A&E: the enthusiasm for learning and opportunities for further training.

In July 2015 I then moved from A&E after 18months to a position in the community as a School Nurse in Central London. From my experience in A&E I found I had a keen interest in health promotion and safeguarding. As a School Nurse I am managing a workload of six schools and work in a team of fifteen School Nurses. I really value the flexibility and 9-5 working hours in the community setting. 

What excites you most about your work?

I really enjoyed the autonomy of being an A&E nurse, and still enjoy going back doing bank work to keep my skills up-to-date.

As a School Nurse I like the routine of 9-5 working and the variety of work that I come across day-to-day. I enjoy the level of safeguarding that I am involved with as a health professional, doing health assessments for children on child protection plans and attending child protection conferences. I enjoy having the opportunity to teach children and staff on topics such as handwashing (preventing infections spreading), sexual health, epipen/anaphylaxis, epilepsy, and asthma.

I am still furthering my learning and attending regular training sessions, for example on enuresis, child development and behaviours and ongoing safeguarding courses. 

What advice would you give students trying to get into your profession?

The advice I would give to upcoming students is that from the first placement try to be as enthusiastic as possible and grasp every opportunity you can to further your learning, as you will never be able to be a student nurse again. For example, going to theatres to observe routine operations so that you have an understanding of the follow-up care that you will then be giving patients.

Also I would give advice that students should not let challenges affect your confidence, let it motivate you in wanting to be a better more proactive nurse.

During the three years always keep in mind which placements you are really enjoying so that you can make the very best decision for your supportive practice placement and career once qualified. 

In what ways did studying at Christ Church prepare you for your current role?

I have a lot to thank Christ Church for in preparing me for being a qualified nurse. Looking back I am especially appreciative of the interview support that tutors provided me. Each interview that I have undertaken I have referred back to the advice that I had received from tutors at Christ Church. It was truly a very valuable module.

Having studied a vocational degree it was at times a stressful course to undertake straight from college/A Level education, but Christ Church’s structured course helped me become organised and prepared for a career as a nurse.

Christ Church encouraged students to begin building a portfolio from the first year. My portfolio has been building ever since I qualified and has been a huge benefit with the new revalidation process nurses have to complete.

Do you have a favourite memory of your time at Christ Church?

My most treasured memory of my time at Christ Church was my final supervised practice placement of 12 weeks, where I really felt like a member of the team, and a worthy nurse. It was during this placement that I made lasting friendships, increased the confidence in myself, and received feedback from patients that reflected how much I had progressed in the three years.

Also, not forgetting that completing the whole programme and being awarded with a degree is a very proud memory in itself!

"My most treasured memory of my time at Christ Church was my final supervised practice placement of 12 weeks, where I really felt like a member of the team, and a worthy nurse."

Polly Leavold, Child Nursing Alumna

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Last edited: 25/02/2020 14:47:00